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“Please Help Us” South Asians plea for assistance

“Please Help Us” – South Asians plea for assistance

Christian World Service (CWS) launches an immediate appeal for emergency assistance to the victims of the massive earthquake and tsunamis in south and south east Asia. CWS partners are calling for help in response to the devastation.

CWS has been working with groups in South India and Sri Lanka for decades and now fears for the safety of many poor communities and families in coastal regions. “We are still waiting to hear from groups working amongst the fisherfolk off the southern most coast of India,” says Projects Officer, Elizabeth Mackie. “They are extremely poor and live in fragile dwellings on the sand dunes. There would be no where for them to go and I fear for their lives,” she adds.

Although there has been no word from Neythal (the South Indian partner), the Indian Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) has begun assessing the peoples needs. Two assessment teams of 15 people each are travelling the coast to set up appropriate emergency responses.

Christian World Service has also received news from partners working through the global alliance of which it is a part, Action by Churches Together (ACT) International to respond to this unprecedented disaster. The National Council of Churches of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) reports that there has been severe flooding in Trinco, Batticaloa, Amaprai, Matara and Galle.

”I can’t describe the disaster that has hit Sri Lanka very unexpectedly and has thrown millions of lives into complete disarray. We have broken our vacation and are working today to assist those who are helpless during these times. Please help us,” says Xavier, an emergency officer with the NCCSL. He reports that the people are gathering to share their experiences and “are utterly frightened”.

The NSCCL has already dispatched money for food parcels and the churches are in the process of sending three teams to the affected regions. “We keep receiving requests from all over,” he says.

In Indonesia the local churches are also coordinating responses on the different islands. The island of Nias has been devastated and the churches express grave concern about the situation in Aceh which is very isolated because of the Indonesian government’s clampdown on the fighting with separatist rebels.

“These are people that we know,” says Elizabeth Mackie. “I ask all New Zealanders to give generously to help the families and communities whose lives have been destroyed by this disaster.”

Donations can be made by phoning: 0800 74 73 72 or can be sent to P O Box 22 652, Christchurch

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